The ISS is the biggest show of its kind in the world. It needs to be. Britain has over 2,500 independent schools, and privately educated children are most likely to attend more than one, possibly several as they move through the year groups. And siblings may attend different schools. For fee paying parents, this creates literally millions of potential choices about where to educate their children.
For the weekend of 11-12 November, The Independent Schools Show (ISS) returns to the Evolution London, Battersea Park for it’s sixteenth year.
Over the years, all the leading independent schools have been involved in the ISS – as speakers at one of the four lecture theatres, or one of the hundreds of exhibitors. The sheer quantity of talks, exhibiting schools, supplementary advisors of tuition, university advice, education software etc. is staggering. And it is all under one roof. Bearing in mind that schools attend from across the UK and overseas, and that many Londoners will leave town to live near their chosen school, wherever it happens to be, the ISS saves parents vast amounts of time.
This show will present a strong case to look beyond London, showcasing ‘modern boarding’ in small country prep schools, where time and space expand. NEW for 2023, the ‘Experience Boarding’ trail for children will provide an exciting and immersive adventure, whilst parents get their questions answered….Charles Bonas, an education commentator, advisor and tutor provider writes:
‘I grew up in the countryside, so when I drive out of London on a sunny day to visit a school, I am almost completely diverted by the beauty and space of the campus. What’s fascinating about the dynamic of the show is that admissions staff and head teachers are removed from this splendour to what is effectively a fairground setting (albeit with professionally presented stands, set in the glorious autumnal colours of a central London park). Rather than greeting parents at the end of an oak lined drive and taking them up porticoed steps, past portraits of their predecessors and into a panelled study, they are only as impressive as the personal impact they make on the weekend attired families who pass by and casually stop to talk. This really focuses minds not so much on whether a school has the right A-level combinations (important as that is), but on shared values and ambitions, empathy and communicability. And parents have many such conversations, in the space of a few hours, to make comparisons. Without the backdrop of vast swards of playing fields and magnificent libraries (the tour can come later), the answers are almost immediate and transparent’.
Consequently, many schools find new circles of parents at the ISS; and some find it their main source of new pupils. The ISS is also a critical source of bursary pupils. The extraordinary diversity of the visitors does much to shatter the preposterous myth that public schools are tax shelters for a white, upper class elite.
This year, more London heads than ever before will be speaking at our lecture theatres. Their schools have some of the most competitive application processes in the English speaking world, attracting huge parental concern about academic attainments, an industry of private tutors and anxiety about the increasingly Byzantine admissions and bursary processes. We ensure that some of the clearest minds and effective speakers in the sector take parents through this maze. All sorts of other key themes are addressed – from adolescent well-being to university selection.